Topeka gets balanced scoring in easy victory

Richard Kelly

A night after only scoring two goals and winning a nailbiter, the Topeka RoadRunners felt like having some breathing room Saturday night.

Topeka (19-7-2) scored five goals in the first period, including three in less than two minutes, as the RoadRunners crushed the New Mexico Mustangs 9-1 on Saturday at Landon Arena.

RoadRunners coach Scott Langer saw a difference in his team from the night before, where Topeka played a lackluster first and second period.

“Our energy level was really good tonight right from the drop of the puck,” said Langer. “We made some changes on the forecheck that allowed our guys to go a little bit and it paid off.”

Midway through the first period, Topeka grabbed a 1-0 lead when Cory Ramsey found the back of the net. Saturday was the Teddy Bear Toss for the RoadRunners as stuffed animals littered the ice, which would eventually be donated to the Topeka Rescue Mission.

Ramsey, who ended up with two goals in the contest, saw an effort from his team that showed they wanted to put out their best effort before having a weekend off for Christmas.

“Everyone was looking forward to break and getting a week off , so we figured we might as well do what we can tonight, hopefully work our butts off, and get the win,” said Ramsey.

Following Ramsey’s goal, New Mexico (8-20-3) tied the game just 23 seconds later. However, four goals in the final five minutes of the period put Topeka up 5-1 going into the first intermission. Topeka led in shots 18-4 after one period.

Chris Bond and Zach Schrotenboer  scored at the 4:58 and 8:58 marks of the second period to put the RoadRunners up 7-1. And in the third period, Justin Hussar also tallied a goal and Schrotenboer notched his second goal of the night. Final shots on goal were 35-14 for Topeka. Erik Rohrkemper stopped 13 of 14 shots to improve to 6-2-2 on the season.

Topeka, who was without leading point and goal scorer Michael Hill, had 13 players with at least one point on the night. Langer said this balanced scoring is crucial for his team’s success.

“A lot of guy’s games are improving and as a team we’re really coming together,” said Langer. “We started out pretty shaky and as of late, we’ve really been on quite a roll.”

The RoadRunners will return to the ice New Year’s Eve when they host the Amarillo Bulls at 6:05 p.m. Amarillo is currently tied with Topeka for second place in the North American Hockey League South Division with 40 points apiece. The Bulls have two games in hand on the RoadRunners.